Ahead of a hearing on the crisis at the southern border and a Senate vote on President Trump's national emergency declaration, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said the U.S. is being "flooded" with illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border.

In an interview on "The Story" Tuesday, Graham (R-S.C.) pointed to disturbing new numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to officials, more than 76,000 people tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in February, a "remarkable" leap and the highest number of any February in the past 12 years.

Of those, 7,249 were unaccompanied children, and 40,385 were family units -- totaling 60 percent of apprehensions.

"I was blown away," Graham said, noting that the number of families apprehended at the border is up 335 percent over the past year, while the number of unaccompanied minors in custody is up 54 percent.

He added that the average cost of housing an unaccompanied minor is $375 a day, which puts the U.S. on pace to spend $1.6 billion in 2019.

"If this is not a crisis, what the hell would be?" Graham said. "We're being flooded. The numbers are just through the roof."

He said President Trump is on "sound legal footing" with his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, which would allow him to divert $3.6 billion from military construction to erect more border barriers.

He said he supports Trump's move and he hopes his fellow Republicans are also on board when the Senate votes in the coming days on a resolution of disapproval, which would nullify Trump’s border emergency declaration.

Several Republicans have said they would support the resolution, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), which makes it likely the declaration will be overturned.

If that happens, Trump would likely use the first veto of his presidency.

Watch the interview from "The Story" above, including Graham's thoughts on the future of the Mueller probe.


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